There will always be wags criticizing the Church for this issue or that. A healthy criticism can help focus one’s attention on improvement where needed. And there will always be those who not only criticize but attack the Church, never missing an opportunity to heap malice upon a cynical view.
If you want a clearer comment on the Catholic Church, ask the people who are preparing to join it. Since almost 895 of them are in their final stages of preparation before entering the Church or becoming full members, you’ll have your work cut out.
They are likely to articulate reasons for their faith rooted in the love of Jesus, head of the Church, in which they are making a commitment to join. Talk to the folks in the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults in your parish (and pray for them). They’ll offer powerful testimony of a clear-eyed, mature Christian faith that they are choosing to proclaim and live as Catholics.
And they’re not alone. In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 11,000 faithful people over the past 10 years have either become baptized in the faith for the first time or received their remaining sacraments of initiation, communion and confirmation as well as penance.
These adult Catholics and their newly baptized infant brothers and sisters are contributing to a trend of growth in the Church worldwide. This week the Vatican published statistics from the end of 2008 showing the number of Catholics reached 1.166 billion, up 19 million from the previous year. The percentage of Catholics of the global population now stands at 17.4, up from 17.33 percent in 2007.
As an aside, the number of priests ordained worldwide in 2008 rose by 1,142 to 409,166. The number of seminarians in the world also rose to 117,024, up one percent for the year.
Cynics we will always have with us, but their claims in the media and in conversation of a Church in irrevocable decline ring hollow. The Catholic Church for all its gifts and faults continues to march in a steady pace of growth in its earthly journey. Families welcome new members and pass on the gift of faith in Jesus through His Church. Adults consciously choose to claim the gifts and responsibilities of membership in the Church.
The bride of Christ, referred to as Mother church, continues to bring her children in increasing numbers through the challenges of life and safely home to God. That’s something for Catholics to talk about, and for everyone to take notice.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103